Chelsea Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified US government documents to the website WikiLeaks. From her prison cell in Kansas, Chelsea tells us why speaking out against injustice can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
By Emily McGranachan, Member of Amnesty International USA’s LGBT Human Rights Coordinating Group
While pundits in the U.S. lament the political stalemate on Capitol Hill, legislatures elsewhere have had a banner year. Take Uganda, for example, where no fewer than three major pieces of controversial and internationally scrutinized legislation were signed into law between August 2013 and February 2014: the Public Order Management Act (POMA), the Anti-Pornography Act (APA), and the now-nullified Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA). This flurry of activity in the lead-up to Uganda’s 2016 elections legalized repressive and discriminatory policies.
Thanks to these three laws, restrictions on the rights to free expression, association and assembly for all Ugandans have intensified. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Conor Fortune, News Writer at Amnesty International, who recently returned from St Petersburg
Ekaterina Khomenko’s throat was slit when a street cleaner found her in a car with the engine still running in St Petersburg earlier this month.
According to media reports, police initially suggested – somewhat incredibly – that she might have committed suicide. An investigation is now under way into the actual cause of the 29-year-old’s death. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Andy Graan, Amnesty International USA Country Specialist for Serbia, Macedonia, and Western Europe
LGBT activists and supporters in Serbia have been working tirelessly to prepare for Belgrade Pride, scheduled for September 28. Despite annual efforts to celebrate Belgrade Pride, the 2014 parade, if held successfully, will mark only the third time in more than a decade that the event has actually occurred.
By Colby Goodman, Senior Research Associate at the Security Assistance Monitor and a member of Amnesty USA’s Military, Security and Police Working Group
Late last month, the Obama Administration took the unusual step of suspending U.S. security assistance to Uganda in connection with its new “Anti-Homosexuality Act,” raising the possibility of similar U.S. restrictions for other African states on the eve of the U.S.-Africa Summit.
According to a June 24th Amnesty International fact sheet, homosexuality is illegal in 38 African countries and punishable by death in four of these states (Mauritania, northern Nigeria, southern Somalia and Sudan).
I’ve just come from opening week at the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), when thousands of women’s rights activists and member state delegations descend on New York to review the current state of affairs for women and girls globally and recommend actions states can take to advance gender equality and promote female empowerment.
Many of the events this week are calling attention to sexual and reproductive rights as a primary barrier to development progress and the enjoyment of rights and dignity for all. The priority theme for the CSW this year is a review of progress for women and girls under the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
In January, Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, signed the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act into law. This act imposes a 14-year prison sentence for attempting to marry a partner of the same sex.
Nigerians convicted of same-sex public displays of affection, or of participating in organizations or meetings related to LGBT issues face ten years of jail time.
In the weeks since President Jonathan signed the law, Nigeria has seen a sharp increase in anti-LGBT mob violence and the arrest of dozens of LGBT people.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and Amnesty International USA in the theme of “Bringing Human Rights Home.” Read all posts in the series here.
Over the weekend, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni signed into law a bill that criminalizes being gay. Moreover, it criminalizes the “promotion of homosexuality,” which will directly impact human rights defenders, healthcare providers or others providing services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
These additional restrictions on top of already discriminatory policies directly undermine the human rights to privacy, health and freedom of expression and association – as the way the laws in Uganda and Nigeria have been written, conducting sex education or trainings on HIV and AIDS could be interpreted as promoting homosexuality and result in jail time of several years.
The new antigay law in Uganda is alarming and, sadly, not shocking. You note that it follows the passage of similar legislation in Nigeria and fits within a growing trend that Amnesty International reported on last July.
The developments in Uganda and Nigeria underscore the depth to which many African leaders are determined to go, not only to discriminate against a segment of their populations, but also to incite hatred and potentially acts of violence. It is a failure of their obligations, internationally and regionally, to protect the rights of people living within their borders and a failure of governance.
The legacy of the Sochi Olympics will be tainted by the numerous human rights violations in the run-up and during the Games, as well as the failure of the International Olympic Committee to confront the Russian authorities over the arrests and beatings that marred this prestigious sporting event.
The Olympic Games are meant to contribute to a peaceful and better world. This goal was not achieved in Sochi. The reason is simple: Russia’s repression continued unabated throughout the Games, and the Olympic movement failed to challenge the host country on its pledge to promote human rights.